The Steam Machines get a controller, featuring no joysticks, a touchscreen and trackpads

steam controllerValve’s final announcement in their living room invasion is the Steam controller.  This new controller will function with the new Steam Machines, which run on the SteamOS.  The controller will feature two shoulder buttons, a touch screen center with four face buttons surrounding it.  The most pominent and noticable feature is the lack of joysticks.  Valve instead went with trackpads.

The change seems to be for the better, as Valve writes “The most prominent elements of the Steam controller are its two circular trackpads. Driven by the player’s thumbs, each one has a high-resolution trackpad as its base. It is also clickable, allowing the entire surface to act as a button. The trackpads allow far higher fidelity input than has previously been possible with traditional handheld controllers. Steam gamers, who are used to the input associated with PCs, will appreciate that the Steam Controller’s resolution approaches that of a desktop mouse.”  The use of the track pads will allow gamers mouse-like precision and open up the usage of the controller for genres like strategy games, simulation titles and 4x space exploration games

Instead of using the traditional rumble packs, the Steam controller will instead employ dual linear resonant actuators.  “These small, strong, weighted electro-magnets are attached to each of the dual trackpads. They are capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement.”

The central touch screen also works as a button.  Players will be able to swipe across the screen to pick different action, but only have to commit with a push of the screen.  The controller is also meant to be open and “hackable”, with Valve providing tools to change the controller as players see fit.

Gamers can sign up for the beta to use this controller as well as the Steam Machine.  300 of the machines and controllers will be sent out to a lucky few testers for Valve to receive feedback.

This reporter’s opinion: Well, it certainly makes sense that this is the final announcement.  Valve will begin their war on the living room next year, but without some major titles coming to the SteamOS exclusively then I don’t see the point of ever using buying a Steam Machine or running the OS on my gaming rig.  I can see this controller being nice for my civilization sessions, but I will reserve my judgements on shooters or RPGs til I can get my hands on it (and that of course will all depend on the cost.)

by, Bobby Marquardt

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One thought on “The Steam Machines get a controller, featuring no joysticks, a touchscreen and trackpads

  1. Pingback: Here is your first look at a prototype Steam Machine | League of Mediocre Gamers

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